The Fellowship of Life
I was saddened to read Mrs. Margaret Lawson's criticism of the aims
of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (June issue) as
against those of the Fellowship of Life, which Mrs. Lawson has founded.
Surely every influence to stimulate peoples' regard for the creatures,
however small or partial, is to be welcomed.
Unfortunately, the New Testament records, as they stand and are
officially interpreted by the various sections of the Church, provide no
grounds whatever for suggesting that Christians should be vegetarians.
It is only from certain writings of some of the Early Fathers of the
Church that a tradition of vegetarianism seems to have been followed by
some of the immediate followers of Jesus. References point to Peter,
James, Matthew and, possibly, Thomas, so that one is led to speculate
whether there were other Teachings, or other interpretations, which
encouraged them in their practice.
The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels is presented as being, sometimes
pacific, sometimes sentimental and occasionally arrogant and forceful
and, certainly, the Christian Church in general has written a tragic
history of domination by force of every description, so that it is no
wonder that the younger generation turns to the East to find genuinely
compassionate teachings and embodied ideas, together with an
understanding of the spiritual side of life which is almost non-existent
in the materialistic West.
N.B. Ronald Lightowler (1905 - 1990) was a former Secretary of the London Vegetarian Society and the Editor of their journal The Vegetarian News during the 1940's/50's. The L.V.S. merged with the Manchester based Vegetarian Society in 1969 although their journals had already combined to became The British Vegetarian in 1959.
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